Section 1: Introduction
In the modern world, conflict is the order of the day. That is to say, if countries are not fighting and quarreling about boundaries and military supremacy, then organizations are scrambling for market control and profitability (Ramsbotham et al, 2011). Among individuals, people fight for power and leadership or for their rights, and demonstrating how powerful they are among their colleagues. Conflict is one of the best ways of expressing individual feelings. However, it is certain that the effects of conflict are adverse if not fatal. In my life, I have come into conflict with a number of people and that has been part of life, as I have been able to get over the conflicts and I have managed to move on with life. However, one experience in my life will never be forgotten. My life at the workplace has been full of different experiences. At the workplace, I have had a number of friends who have made my experiences in various organizations very interesting. 6 months ago, I was the sales representative of my organization and I was on the verge of promotion due to my hard work. As the head of the sales group, I had the privilege of possessing a laptop while at work as it helped me go through the various sales operations of the company. One day when we were settled for our normal sales operations at the work place, I was busy checking something on the Internet through my laptop. Not that everyone was happy with me expected promotion; others had even planned to do everything at their disposal to prevent the promotion. One of my co-workers, Jackson approached me to know what I was up to with the laptop. He was one of the most arrogant employees in the organization I had ever come across. Therefore, when he came to my desk, I knew something was wrong. Indeed something wrong happened. When he came to my desk, Jackson proved his arrogance and pushed my laptop to the floor. The reason for this was the power struggle that was in the organization. Most of the workers, including Jackson did not want my promotion to sail through. I jumped up in anger and caught his neck. I was very furious and used my strength to push him to the ground. He fell which made the other workers present to start shouting which caused commotion at the workplace. Thereafter, we walked out of the office. The curiosity among other workers saw them follow us closely. Despite his muscular physique, Jackson would regret his actions. Our physical confrontation was a disturbance to the other workers present at the workplace at the time hence the conflict had to stop. I grabbed Jackson by the hand and pulled him to his feet.
Thus, it is right to say that there was a conflict that day when Jackson caused a serious damage to my laptop intentionally. The main issue over which the conflict occurred was the damage of the laptop. Thus, I had to respond to Jackson’s recklessness and arrogance. Though the conflict was between Jackson and me, there were scores of workers who were also involved in the process, some on my side as the wronged and others who often sat on the same table with Jackson were on his side. They shouted trying to preempt that Jackson was right and that there was no reason for him to face disciplinary actions from the managers. Several elements come out during conflicts, one of them being the use of different kinds of power. The conflict in this case involved the use of physical power. Physical power was evident as I used physical strength to push Jackson to the floor. The other type of power, which was evident during the conflict, was authoritarian power. This was evident when one of the workers at the workplace was able to order for a stop of the fight. During the conflict, other workers who viewed the whole fight and conflict formed different opinions. Of course, as the owner of the damaged laptop, there were those who were against me and viewed the conflict as unnecessary and instigated by my actions that they termed as ‘harsh’. Besides, the pro-Jackson witnesses defined the conflict as an unnecessary and that had no basis in any way. On the other hand, there were workers who supported my actions and had the perception that Jackson was the one on the wrong and was therefore entitled to a serious disciplinary action. The conflict that took place at the workplace at that moment of the day had serious implications on other workers and their activities during the day. To begin with, the services given to customers were interfered with and the peaceful environment that existed at the workplace was also interfered with. This was clearly demonstrated with the manner that workers ran from all directions to have a view of what was happening between Jackson and me. Additionally, the conflict affected other workers as some were injured during the commotion that took place between Jackson and I in the office. This was caused by pushing and shoving among the workers who were trying to get a good view of the fight going on, although the injuries were described as minor. However, it would be worth noting that they were some of the effects of the conflict that ensued.
Conflict has a number of negative effects on the individuals who are involved. For instance, physical injuries and physical damages are the most common effects of conflicts. However, in my case; the conflict aroused a feeling of great anger in me. I felt like Jackson had shown total disrespect to me personally and that he was against my promotion in the organization. I also felt anger because I did not understand why he had to damage my laptop and I had not provoked him in any way. In most occasions, people are controlled by their emotions, and were it not for the confrontation by the workers, the conflict between Jackson and I would have had serious repercussions (Ramsbotham et al, 2011).
The conflict is worthy of an analysis as it brings out the ways in which disagreements can be solved amicably. For instance, despite the physical confrontations, Jackson and I were able to come together and discuss the good and bad things that led to the conflict. After that, we forged a way forward and we promised not to be on the same confrontational line again.
Section 2: Theoretical Connections
There are various theories that are used in solving conflicts. The theories include the psychodynamic theory, the attribution theory, the uncertainty theory, the social change theory s and the systems theory among others. It is worth noting that the most useful theory for examining the behaviors and reactions of individuals involved in the conflict discussed above is the psychodynamic theory. Psychodynamic theory is an approach that psychologists came up with to testify the fact that human behavior is often under the control of unconscious forces which human beings are always not aware of (Borden, 2009). Most of the time, people do actions when they are not aware, for instance, a worker at the workplace can just decide to scream very loudly without being aware. It is worth noting that the theory has the perception that the motives of the behavior of human beings often reflect their biological drives and their early experiences, especially before they exceed the age of five. Moreover, according to the theory, the behavior of human beings is always attributed to the three parts of human personality: id, ego and superego. The id is defined as the part of the human personality that is always a force behind the human biological drives such as eating, drinking, sex and aggression. The ego is defined as the part of human personality that often tries to find ways and means of satisfying the id’s needs in a way that is accepted by the superego. On the other hand, the superego is defined as the moral part of human beings that uses guilt and anxiety to prevent rapid actions and reflexes on the impulses brought forth by the id. In respect to these aspects, psychodynamic theory helps people study the behavior of human beings just by having a look at the hidden meanings in the actions of people or in what they say. Thus during the conflict, the psychodynamic theory played an integral part in helping study the behavior of those who were involved in the conflict. To begin with, the theory can be termed as useful in examining my behavior during the incident, as it clearly explains what part of my personality reacted first. For instance, I pushed Jackson to the floor and this was because of great anger. Thus, my aggressive behavior can be attributed to the id, an aspect explained in the psychodynamic theory. However, I restrained and controlled my anger during the incident, and embraced another approach during the situation. The behavior where I resolved to dialogue instead of aggressiveness can be attributed to the superego that is known to use anxiety and guilt to prevent people from acting on the impulses of the id. All these show how useful the psychodynamic theory was important in helping explain my behavior during the conflict (Borden, 2009).
The psychodynamic theory also plays an integral role in helping explain Jackson’s reactions and behavior during the conflict. When I pushed him to the floor, Jackson rose and physically confronted me. This action was done subconsciously and it can be attributed to the id part of personality, which is responsible for all biological drives and experiences among individuals. However, after the aggression, Jackson decided to calm down so that we could discuss the issue amicably without physical confrontation and involvement of physical strength and power. By deciding to come into a discussion, the superego comes into existence, and thus it used anxiety and guilt to prevent Jackson from acting on the impulses prompted by the id (Borden, 2009).
Explaining the behavior of the other workers during the reaction is important. It should be noted that the other workers jumped up screaming loudly when the conflict began. Moreover, they were everywhere with the aim of having a view of what had taken place between Jackson and I. Therefore, their behavior of screaming loudly during the conflict is an indication of the aggression dictated by the id. On the other hand, the behavior of the workers of following the two victims of conflict peacefully was an act dictated by the superego. With all these in mind, it is therefore notable that the psychodynamic theory was the most useful theory in explaining the behaviors of all the individuals who were involved in the conflict directly or indirectly (Borden, 2009).
Section 3: Skills Assessment
Conflicts are common experiences in the everyday lives of human kind that should not be pushed away. There is no way people can avoid conflicts. Therefore, individuals should try to cope with conflicts and even find ways and means of overcoming the conflicts (Dunne & Ebrary, 2003). In order to overcome and solve conflicts, various techniques and skills should be applied when evaluating interactions between individuals. There are various ways of preventing a possible reoccurrence of a conflict: the use of communication phases and processes in conflict, the use of patterns and cycles in constructive and destructive conflict processes, the use of communication options in conflict, the use of S-T-L-C system, the negotiation method and the forgiveness and reconciliation method among several others. The best method that can be applied to the interaction in the case study discussed above is the forgiveness and reconciliation method. It is important to understand what the two terms represent before giving a detailed explanation of why it is one of the best methods to apply for similar interactions. Forgiveness is a term that has been in existence for a long time. Those who believe in the Christian faith and have gone through the Bible will find out that forgiveness was one of the best ways that was used to overcome conflicts. This is a situation whereby a victim intentionally and involuntarily changes his or her attitudes and feelings towards an offender. Most of the time, when an individual forgives another, they often let go of the negative emotions and attitudes such as vengefulness and they end up wishing the offender well in their endeavors. Therefore, in this case study, the conflict was overcome by the act of forgiveness. We forgave each other and let go of the negative perceptions and attitudes that had developed between us. This was demonstrated by our acts of shaking hands after the incident. Besides, Jackson promised never to repeat the mistake and also swore never to show disrespect to any of his colleagues again. Though I had no basis of apologizing, I felt sorry for him and warned him not to recklessly damage other people’s property.
Reconciliation goes hand in hand with forgiveness hence it was also an element that helped overcome the conflict in the case study. Understanding the meaning of the term reconciliation would be important. Reconciliation is an act where two or more people, organizations or parties are made or caused to become friendly after a particular conflict or disagreement (Dunne & Ebrary, 2003). In the case study mentioned in this case, the onlookers or rather the other workers who witnessed the conflict fostered reconciliation. The other workers felt that Jackson and I were both on the wrong. This is because they perceived that Jackson breached the organization’s rules by destroying a colleague’s property. Others believed that the approach that I used to confront Jackson was wrong. On the basis that we were both on the wrong, the workers decided to reconcile us and this enabled us to overcome the conflict and forget about the incident. It should be noted that forgiveness and reconciliation is considered as the most applicable in the case study due to a number of reasons. To begin with, forgiveness and reconciliation in this case would enhance a healthier relationship between the parties involved (Jackson and I). Relationships are very important and the healthier they are, the better. Secondly, the method would be best applicable to the study as it enhances a greater spiritual and psychological well-being of the people involved in the conflict. For instance, in this case, forgiveness would ensure that there is no interference with the psychological well-being of the workers, Jackson and I. Thirdly, forgiveness and reconciliation would be best for the case study as it encourages less anxiety, hostility and stress. The onlookers in the case study (workers) were anxious to know and see what would happen after the physical approach that took place between Jackson and me. Thus when we reconciled, the anxiety and hostility that existed among the workers was lessened. The other reason why forgiveness and reconciliation was best for the case study is that the method often helps enhance higher self-esteem. A higher self-esteem is one characteristic that every individual often wishes to posses and this was enhanced by the act of forgiveness and reconciliation that took place after the conflict (Dunne & Ebrary, 2003).
Section 4: Conclusion and Reflection
In conclusion, it should be noted that the conflict in this case involved Jackson and me. The conflict occurred when Jackson destroyed my laptop and I was angered and physically confronted him. There was a physical fight that broke though it was later resolved. As discussed above, the theory of conflict that would be used in explaining the behaviors of those involved in the conflict is the psychodynamic theory. Moreover, as discussed above, the best method that is applicable to the interaction in the case study is forgiveness and reconciliation.
However, having overcome the experience, in future incidences one should be able to apply conflict management skills such as forgiving and reconciliation as seen in the case study analyzed. Since the experience, my perspectives about conflict management have changed. This is because I came to realize that it is an individual involved in a conflict who has the responsibility and power of ending the conflict and not any external party. The perspective that has not changed is that conflict is one of the most effective ways of solving personal issues with an individual as a person will have the chance of confessing. The conflict plays an integral role in helping me assess the situations at the workplace, as I am able to apply the conflict management skills in a real life situation. Finally, it should be noted that having knowledge about conflict management is very important. This has helped save a number of situations that would have brought more harm than good to the victims involved (Dunne & Ebrary, 2003). Management of conflicts has been an international practice where countries engaged in war have had to reestablish good international relation
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Dunne, G., & Ebrary, Inc. (2003). Anger and Conflict Management: Personal Handbook. Fawnskin: Personhood Press.
Ramsbotham, O., Miall, H., & Woodhouse, T. (2011). Contemporary conflict resolution: The prevention, management and transformation of deadly conflicts. Cambridge, UK: Polity.